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October 3, 2010

Maria Sharapova


M. SHARAPOVA/T. Pironkova
6-4, 7-6

THE INTERPRETER: Questions, please.

Q. I wanted to ask you a little bit about how you felt about the match today. At times you seemed a little bit sluggish. How was your preparation since being in Tokyo last week?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, going down in the first round in Tokyo and coming here gives you kind of a little bit of a window to prepare but also doesn't give you as much match play as you obviously had hoped. The first rounds are always quite difficult, and I faced a tough opponent today.
You know, I think the first rounds are never quite perfect and you just try to, you know, find your way and your rhythm a little bit, and there are definitely a few ups and downs. At the end of the day, I found a way to win, and, you know, that was the most important thing today.

Q. You had several early leads, multiple match point opportunities both during the game and in the tiebreaker, but your opponent came back pretty often throughout the match. I was wondering how you would evaluate your performance during those times.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Obviously in an ideal situation you want to take those opportunities, and, you know, you don't really want to give your opponent those chances to come back, but I think she stepped up when she was behind.
Sometimes it's when your opponent plays their best tennis is when they're behind, and they kind of don't have much to lose and they go for their shots. She started swinging away, and I was a little bit late and a little bit more tentative, and, you know, let her back in the match. Like I said, that was one of the things, there was a little too many swings today.

Q. Is there any part of your game that you're not particularly happy with at the moment? Any area that you think you could improve upon?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think it's, you know, the consistency, and, you know, not really having those swings and not really letting my opponent, you know, get back in the games and in the points. You know, it's obviously difficult in the first round, because you're trying to get your rhythm, and the conditions are not ideal, and you're playing a tricky opponent that throws a lot of things at you from the baseline.
But, I mean, I think consistency is one of them and cut down on the errors, yeah.

Q. I know you got injured so you changed your serving style in 2008, so I'd like to ask you that you didn't play as good, as well, as year before, so did you find a solution?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, because I was out of the game for about nine months with my shoulder, and I really wanted to come back as quick as I could. I had to make a few adjustments in my game, because if not, I don't think my shoulder was quite ready for it.
So I did have to change my motion for, you know, for about five or six months, I would say. You know, after I felt like I was getting the strength back in it and I felt like I could play, you know, week in and week out and playing a lot of matches, and I felt strong, you know, then I went back to kind of a fuller motion and not quite as full as it was maybe when I used to play before surgery, but certainly a lot more fluid than after.

Q. What do you think of the current WTA Tour schedule? Do you think it's a bit tough for the players since you were just been suffering from injuries? Are you satisfied with the current Roadmap, or do you think they have to reduce some of the matches to meet the need of the players?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: We've certainly reduced the amount of mandatory tournaments in the calendar year, so the players actually, you know, have a lot more say in their schedule. You know, they have to commit to the bigger events because that's really important, you know, for tournaments and sponsors to know that, you know, which players are coming in terms of advertisement, and, you know, for them to build up a tournament that's quite important.
So for those mandatory tournaments, you know, it's pretty important to play them as far as -- you know, the other ones around those tournaments, it's all a personal choice and it depends how many tournaments you want to play in a year.
I've never really been the type of player that can, you know, physically handle over 20 tournaments a year. I don't think I've played that in my career, you know, but there are some that can, you know, that do quite well and sometimes play better the more tournaments they play.
It's more of a personal choice, and I think it depends on an individual's body and how much they can play and how much they can take.

Q. A few of the top seeds are not here, the Williams sisters. How do you rate your chances here? Do you see yourself going quite far? What's your long-term goals going forward?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's tough to focus on who's in the draw and who's not, because at the end of the day it's all about your next match and who you're going to face and trying to win that match. I think that's what we're -- that's everyone's goal out here, because you're -- within nine days of this tournament you're facing different types of opponents and different levels, and the further you get in the tournament the tougher it gets, and, you know, you obviously hope to be the one that's holding the trophy.

Q. University of British Columbia just revealed a study about grunting, and their conclusion is that it has distracted the opponent, that the reaction is slower. What do you think about it? Do you agree with it or -- because it's scientific, they say?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't know. That's the first time I've heard about that.

Q. It's just revealed this weekend.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, that's great.

Q. Do you feel distracted when somebody else, your opponent, is grunting?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I pretty much worry about -- there are so many things you have to worry about in a match, and that's really the last thing you think about when you're out there.

End of FastScripts

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